Mayors outline issues at GLMV Chamber luncheon
Libertyville Mayor Terry Weppler joined other mayors and county officials in a panel discussion at the GLMV Chamber of Commerce's County and Village Economic Update Luncheon Tuesday.
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Updated: July 2, 2012 9:48AM
Local mayors and county officials spoke to about 75 business people during the GLMV Chamber of Commerce’s Lake County and Village Economic Update Luncheon at White Deer Run Golf Club in Vernon Hills.
Officials addressed a range of topics, including the proposed extension of Route 53, the development of a new Mundelein Village Hall, combined police and fire dispatch service between Libertyville and Vernon Hills, and a proposed expansion of the Westfield Hawthorn Mall.
Lake County Board Chairman David Stolman outlined the Illinois Route 53/120 Blue Ribbon Advisory Council’s final report completed on Friday, which recommended the Illinois Tollway move forward with the long-debated Route 53 highway extension.
The council’s plan calls for a proposed four-lane, limited access toll road with a maximum operating speed of 45 mph that would connect up with a four-lane Route 120 near Grayslake.
“It’s actually very historic,” said Stolman at this month’s event, noting that the Blue Ribbon Advisory Council which recommended the roadway project consisted of a diverse group of environmental, business, labor representatives and elected officials.
“I can say we had almost unanimous consent,” he said. “It’s resounding consensus, and we’re going to present our plans to the tollway in the coming months.”
Meanwhile, village leaders from Mundelein, Libertyville, Vernon Hills and Green Oaks outlined some of the top projects and issues facing their towns.
Mundelein Mayor Ken Kessler discussed plans for revitalization downtown Mundelein, including a public-private partnership with Weston Solutions which will allow for construction of a new Village Hall and hopefully attract more development to the downtown.
Kessler said the village is expected to be completed with the demolition and clearing of the former Sigma Services industrial site near the downtown Metra station in early June. Plans are to begin work on new public infrastructure this fall in anticipation of the construction of a new Village Hall next March.
Libertyville Mayor Terry Weppler discussed the recently approved village road referendum, which will provide about $20 million in funding for improvements to village streets over the next five years, and the successful electric aggregation referendum, which is expected to save Libertyville consumers about 44 percent on their electric supply rates.
Weppler said downtown Libertyville is “flourishing” with several new restaurants opening and car sales in the village are also up and the housing market is beginning to rebound.
Weppler also addressed the consolidation of Libertyville’s police-fire dispatch service with Vernon Hills, which is expected to take effect around Aug. 1.
“There’s no intent to cut any service to the citizens of Libertyville,” said Weppler, in response to audience question on how the merger would impact dispatch service to Libertyville residents. “I don’t think our residents are going to notice any difference in service if our dispatching is done two blocks east of the Village Hall or two blocks south in Vernon Hills.”
Vernon Hills Village Manager Mike Allison also addressed the issue, saying the two towns will realize a cost savings by having a combined dispatch center in Vernon Hills.
Allison discussed Westfield Hawthorn Mall’s proposed expansion and revitalization project, which includes a new state-of-the-art theater complex on the northeast section of the mall, additional retail and restaurant space and renovated mall entrances. He also discussed three proposed rental housing developments, which could bring about 1,000 new rental units to the community.
Also speaking at the business meeting were Green Oaks Mayor Bernard Wysocki, who talked about recent developments in Green Oaks, and Lake County Partners President Michael Stevens.